Big data is creating the potential for a revolution in many domains, including public health. However, big data represents only one of the ingredients to materialize this revolution, and we need to surmount many other socio-technical elements required to enable it and other various challenges. From the perspective of ministries of health in low and middle income countries (LMICs), I examine some of the drivers of this data revolution and some of the challenges and opportunities big data provides for strengthening health systems. Based on this analysis, I draw some key implications for LMICs governments on how they could seek to harness the potential of big data to address public health concerns they are currently engaged with or expect to do so in the future.